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ANIMAL ATTRACTION: The Live Mascots of the SEC

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MIKE THE TIGER

Photograph By Jamie Chung

Louisiana State University
Sixth Generation

It was Oct. 6, 2007, and undefeated LSU was hosting Florida in Death Valley. Normally, that's all you'd need to know about a Saturday in Baton Rouge, but that day was different. It was the Bengal-Siberian mix tiger's first football game as Mike the Tiger, LSU's mascot for more than seven decades. An additional 40,000 fans flooded campus as Mike, then 26 months old, made his way toward Tiger Stadium inside his trailer. Now fully grown at 500 pounds, Mike can scarf up to 30 pounds of carnivore food a day and has the most spacious digs on campus with a 13,000-square-foot enclosure. "He would love it if we would wrestle with him," says David G. Baker, Mike VI's vet. "But we just can't take that chance. He's so large that he could hurt us just playing."